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August 19, 2016

Gift of Body Ceremony

Gift of Body Ceremony Honors Anatomy Donors

Students, faculty gather to honor those who donated their bodies to further medical education

Each year, hundreds of University of Missouri School of Medicine and School of Health Professions students benefit from those who have donated their bodies to medical education. To honor the donors and their families, the medical school hosted the annual Gift of Body Commemoration ceremony today, Aug. 19, where students and faculty thanked family members of the donors.

"We wanted to express our gratitude to the family members and loved ones of those who contribute to the Gift of Body program," said Kristina Aldridge, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences and one of the coordinators of the Gift of Body Commemoration ceremony. "This ceremony commemorates the gift that our donors have given. This gift will not only enhance our students’ education, but also will teach our future doctors and health professionals lessons that they will take with them for the rest of their careers."

At the ceremony, Robert Conway, MD, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at MU, discussed his decision to donate his body to the program.

"As a medical student, I had the benefit of learning about the human anatomy by studying the bodies of donors," Conway said. "This is a much richer experience than can be obtained through textbooks or computer simulations. I am very grateful to those who chose to donate their bodies, and that has inspired me to do the same for future students."

Each year, the ceremony is primarily organized by medical students. Jordan Parker of Topeka, Kansas, and Rachel Plate of Lee's Summit, Missouri, second-year medical students at MU and this year’s student organizers, said they greatly benefited from the program.

"The ceremony is our opportunity to connect with donors on a personal level by learning about their lives, families, jobs and hobbies," Parker said. "Working with them has helped me appreciate the differences in each patient. I am glad to be a part of putting together this ceremony to honor them."

The Gift of Body Program is coordinated by the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. Potential donors can contact the program administrator at GOB@missouri.edu or (573) 882-2288.

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